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News/Business. Keith Morrison, Josh Mankiewicz, Hoda Kotb. (2013) Chris Hansen reveals the hidden world of the Internet; a newlywed father-to-be dies in a fall from his 25th floor apartment. New. (CC) (Stereo)




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Us 11, Chris Hansen 9, Tulsa 8, Nbc 8, Beth 7, Alaska 5, Felton 5, Josh 4, Fda 4, Holloway 4, Tucson 4, Amber Hilberling 4, Ma 3, South Carolina 3, Amber 3, Oklahoma 3, Citibank 3, Pantene 3, Jeremy 3, Josh Hilberling 3,
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  NBC    Dateline NBC    News/Business. Keith Morrison, Josh Mankiewicz, Hoda  
   Kotb.  (2013) Chris Hansen reveals the hidden world of the...  

    May 17, 2013
    8:00 - 10:01pm PDT  

♪ we are farmers bum - pa - dum, bum - bum - bum -bum ♪ it can happen in half of a second. but at the same time, it feels like it's lasting forever. they were in love, expectant parents with so much to live for. >> we were young, passionate. it was nice. >> so who woulhave predicted this? >> the way he died. >> he was just 23 when he fell 17 stories to his death. was it an accident or something else? >> going to turn into a nightmare. >> a marriage and a life end in mystery. what really happened that day? i'm lester holt. the answer a little later. but first, chris hansen takes a walk on the wild side. >> are you a vampire?
>> yes, i am a vampire. >> we're back undercover. >> i'm chris hansen with "dateline" nbc. >> and it's wild every than ever. >> how do you justify that. >> are you a hit man? >> i don't know what you're talking about. >> i have to tell you you're sounding like a pathological liar. >> no. >> tonight we investigate the crazy world of the online classifieds. websites. >> who puts a baby on craigslist? >> where anything goes. this time around, there are pills. >> this would violate fda rules. >> stills. this is a picture that you posted. that's not really you, is it? >> and chills. >> when was the first time you consumed human blood? >> it might make your blood run cold. >> how many vampires are there? >> there's a lot of us out there. >> tonight it's all on the wild wild web.
we're back in the online classifieds where billions of people worldwide sell, share and offer services on sites like craigslist and back pai. and with just a few clicks, you can find some very strange things. last time around we found a man selling his marijuana business. >> delivery guy. i can do about $800 to $1,000 a day. >> we met this angry contractor. >> get out of my office. now you're aggravating me. >> then there was glenn glassberg suggesting he was a hit man. >> what can you do? >> i can do anything. >> and there's a lot more on the wild, wild web. tonight we begin with this craigslist post from a beautiful young woman who says she's looking for love. she'd be a great catch for any young man. except she says she doesn't want a young man. she wants an old man. >> i'm a 35-year-old woman looking for love from an older
man at least in his 70s. >> is she for real? a "dateline" senior producer pretending to be a 76-year-old named sam gets in touch with her on the phone. she tells sam her name is jessica traverse and she's a single mom living in texas. she sends him another photo. without ever seeing him, jessica says she's ready to fly to new york with her baby and start a new life with sam if he wires $7500 to cover her expenses. sam makes it clear he has the money. >> i got some savings. i got some savings. >> instead of wiring it, sam says he has a nephew who happens to be in texas who could actually hand deliver the money. sam's nephew is really a "dateline" producer and i'm coming along as his friend. we set up a lunch date at this restaurant and keep an eye out for jessica. and we have that photo she sent. so who is this woman? >> how are you doing?
>> nice to meet you. i'm chris. >> i'm jessica. >> she says she's jessica. >> how are you? >> good. >> jessica? really? >> but before we get to that, we tell her we're concerned about 76-year-old uncle sam. >> so you got my uncle up in an uproar. i don't know what it is you're doing. >> what do you mean? >> i mean, he's all excited. >> sweet old guy. he really is. he's lonely. >> i wanted to talk to him today but he didn't answer. >> i'm going to call him, see if he's thereme. >> we want to make sure her heart is in the right place. >> he's 76. how old are you? >> i'm 35. >> you're 35. because that's a little more than, you know, spring and winter. >> and i told him too. the reason i'm looking for an older guy. i've tried a lot of young guys. i'm not like a person that's been around the block, you know what i mean. i've been with two, three older guys.
i'm done with younger guys. >> jessica tells us about the heartbreak of her earlier marriage. it's a sad, sad tale about how her ex-husband took off desserting her and their 3-year-old daughter. >> do you get any child support from your ex? >> no. i don't know where he is. >> that's too bad. >> he does not exist. >> jessica says she hopes sam will be her knight in shining armor. the answer to all her prayers. >> i want like a relationship, somebody that i can love, somebody that i can call mine, take care of, be there for him and him be there for me. like a regular good relationship, you know. >> remember jessica has never met sam. never even seen a photo of him. even so, sam, she says, has already charmed her. but rest assured, she says, she's not interested in his money. >> i told you i'm not about it for the money. i don't care if sam is broke. he makes me laugh. i've not smiled so much in god
knows what. >> wait a second. didn't she ask for money. >> you asked for $7500. where did you come up with that number? >> because the airline tickets. i wanted to ship my car there. so i had a car. >> all without meeting this person face to face? >> i just wanted somebody who could love me and i could be with him and all of that. >> such a romantic. except now jessica has some explaining to do. starting with why she looks nothing like the woman in the picture she sent us. now this is the post right here. you'll see that this is the picture that you posted. >> uh-huh. >> that's not really you, is it? >> no. that was me when i was in high school. >> in high school. do you think that's fair to post a picture outdated? >> i'm going to be honest. it's probably not. the reason i did it, i don't feel good about myself and so i posted that, so that way maybe somebody would get to know me
first. >> get somebody in the door. >> it's time for me to tell jessica who i am. >> jessica, there's something i need to tell you. i'm chris hansen wh "dateline" nbc. >> the good news is i'm buying your lunch today. >> i can pay for mine. >> we invited you here. we'll pick up the tab. that's not the issue. jessica told us those pictures were of her in high school. >> a totally different person. look at her nose. >> did you have a nose job? >> i got to be honest with you. everybody changes over the years. i'm not being disrespectful. i don't think that's you. >> it was me in high school. >> what year did you graduate from high school? >> i stood back a couple of years. i don't remember the exact date. >> you don't remember the year you graduated from high school? >> no. >> jessica? >> i don't remember the exact year. >> how could you not. everybody knows the year they graduated from high school. >> it's time to let jessica know
that we know about her lies. >> you came here to get money. you have no idea to prove who you are. >> i didn't bring my i.d. >> you put a fake photo on craigslist and then you tell me you can't remember the year in which you graduated from high school. that is shady. >> nice to meet you guys. >> nice to meet you too. >> jessica doesn't stay to finish her lunch. we watch as she walks across the parking lot into this gas station and then disappears out back. so where did she go? to see if we could learn more about her, we tracked her to this house in ft. worth. >> i'm looking for jessica traverse, does she live here? >> this man says he's her uncle. >> she doesn't live here. >> he's surprisingly candid. >> she told us she was 35 years old with a 3-year-old child. >> no. >> how old is jessica in reality? >> i think she's 18. >> 18 years old. >> she's not 35. >> she's 18.
>> she doesn't have a 3-year-old child? >> no. >> she doesn't reside at this address? >> no. >> what do you make of this? >> she is a scam artist. >> if she is a scam artist, she has a new victim. remember the pictures that jessica said were hers -- >> meet cara mckin none, a freshman we tracked down in maine. jessica, it turns out, stole the photos from cara's facebook page. >> i feel like knowing people are looking at that, thinking it's me. that's desperate. i would never write that or do that. >> do you feel violated? >> i feel absolutely violated. it's my own personal identity. and i feel like that's been taken from me. >> what's more surprising is, we learned jessica was no stranger to cara. >> she was one of my friends. >> in fact, they went to high school together in the class of 2012. >> and to jessica traverse, you say what. >> i don't have anything to say
to her. i don't want to see her or talk to her ever again. up next, the red pleasure pill, it promises red hot romance. but someone's in for a wake-up call. >> i know you're law enforcement. >> we're not law enforcement. we're fda. >> our first bathrobe interview. ♪ fly me to the moon ♪ let me play among the stars ♪ and let me see what spring is like ♪ ♪ on jupiter and mars ♪ in other words [ male announcer ] the classic is back. ♪ i love [ male announcer ] the all-new chevrolet impala. chevrolet. find new roads. ♪ you [ female announcer ] almost nothing can dampen a baby's mood, when he wakes up dry in pampers.
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♪ here's a craigslist posting in las vegas offering something called the vegas red pleasure pill. being sold as an all natural
alternative to erectile dysfunction drugs like viagra and cialis. the medications are available by prescription only. but this website brags the red pleasure pill not only works but has no harmful side effects, claiming it's made from exotic herbs. >> you just could tell something was toxic about them. >> bob johnson saw the ad and thought he would give the pleasure pill a try. >> first one i took, i had a lot of headaches, nausea. >> this is just from one pill? >> yeah. >> what's in these red pleasure pills and are they safe? we wanted to find out so we replied to the listing and our producer set up a meeting with the seller in this cigar bar which we rented and rigged with hidden cameras. here comes the man who posted that ad. his name is victor. he says he's been a very busy guy. business is booming. >> i have 20 deliveries in the afternoon. >> as i listened from the back room, our producer asks victor how he, too, can become a
distributor. >> if i buy a thousand pills from you, how much am i paying you? >> we pay like $5 apiece. >> and i sell those pills for how much? >> if you're in new york, you can sell them up to $15. >> exactly what is in these magic pills? victor tells us the recipe is a secret. >> you cannot tell people exactly what's in the pill because they're going to produce it. >> like if you give the ingredients, they'll rip it off. >> yeah. if you give the recipe, what's the point when i can make my own recipe? >> right. >> he guarantees the pleasure pill works. >> if you go up to 72 hours, three days. i use the product. i can sell this product. i don't need to work. this is what i do. >> you make enough money? >> yeah. just do the math. you see, i sell 50 of these a day. >> is that how many you sell, 50 a day? >> i sold 50 a day. >> what kind people buy this stuff? >> mostly tourists. >> anybody. i had doctors, i had lawyers, i have people in construction.
i have anybody. >> but the question is, are they safe? >> there's nothing in here that's dangerous? >> no, nothing is dangerous. >> it's all natural? >> all natural. >> all natural, we'll see about that. >> we bought a few pills from victor, packed them up and shipped them to chrome adex, a lab that analyzes supplements and other pills. we set up another meeting with victor and i come along as a potential business partner. >> victor, nice to meet you. >> victor tries to convince me how good the pleasure pill business is, especially online. >> why craigslist? >> craigslist is very lucrative. you don't know how many people i got from craigslist. >> really? >> at least 800 a month. >> 800 customers just from craigslist. >> what do you think you can grow this into? what is your goal in terms of monthly -- >> i never been in the businesslike this. >> right. >> right now, 40 deliveries a
day. >> 40 deliveries a day. >> on the best day. lower day i do 25, 27. >> and what makes this work? what is the active ingredient? >> there's no chemical in here? >> no chemicals, whatsoever. >> remember, we had the pleasure pills tested. we have some bad news for victor. >> victor, let me tell you something. we did do some independent testing on the product and we got the results back. see this right there? >> it turns out what victor is selling is anything but natural. it's really a potentially dangerous knock-off of vie ragr and cialis. >> the same active ingredients or knock-offs of those active ingredients that are in viagra and cialis are in these pills you're selling as all-natural. >> and this would violate fda rules by the way to have these
ingredients in them. >> oh, man. >> there's one other thing i need to tell you, which is i'm chris hansen with "dateline" nbc. >> i'm embarrassed right now because i didn't know anything about it. >> do you feel responsible because you're selling the product? >> i don't feel responsible because i'm working for somebody else that actually sells the product. i feel like they're lying to me. >> they told you this is all natural? >> all natural. >> plants, roots. >> yes. >> victor claimed he was just a victim himself. that his supplier never told him what was actually in the pills. so who is victor's supplier? victor says it's a man named bob who also lives in vegas. so we called bob, said we were interested in buying some pleasure pills. bob said he would be happy to meet us for breakfast the next day. but bob never showed. so we found his address and paid a visit to his house.
>> bob? >> that's me. >> missed you at breakfast this morning. >> couldn't make it. i'm not feeling good. >> what happened? >> 72 years old happened. >> these red pills. >> what about them? >> how do you get them? >> i don't know. i'm -- i had some pills, i no longer have any pills. and i don't have an answer for you. >> what are they made from? >> as far as i told you on the phone, four herbs. >> i know you're law enforcement. >> no, we're not law enforcement. >> we're fda. >> we're not fda. >> whatever you are. >> i told bob that the pills were not natural. that i'd be happy to explain what was really in them. >> these are the knock-off active ingredient used in viagra and cialis. >> so what is your function? >> my function is that i'm chris hansen is "dateline" nbc. >> aha. >> what's all the cars -- >> cameras.
>> i don't want to be on cameras. >> you can hear my side of the story. >> you're on film already. >> i'm not going to be on film. i've done nothing wrong. >> but victor insisted bob was his supplier. and he also told me out of concern for his customers he was getting out of the pleasure pill business. >> you see the potential danger? >> yes. >> what are you going to do? >> i'm going to -- >> which made it all the more surprising when we saw yet another pleasure pill ad just a week later. an ad we once again answered. and guess who showed up once again? believe it or not, victor. the man who told us he was done with the pleasure pill business. when he saw me -- >> victor, i thought you weren't going to sell the red pills. >> i'm not. just leave me alone. >> victor, you remember me? we told you they were dangerous. people complained about them and you're still selling them, victor. how come? how do you justify that?
coming up -- an ad for a baby online. >> who puts a baby up on craigslist? >> she says she's a mom to be in a jam. could it all be a scam? >> i know that your real name is beth guyton mart nellie. >> you did time in jail? >> no. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪ to somebody out there who i didn't know ♪ ♪ would they laugh after i'd gone? ♪ ♪ or would they pass that wonder on? ♪ ♪ i wonder how it'd change your point of view ♪ ♪ if i gave one to you? ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] bring your style to life. this memorial day, save $5 off all paint and primer
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here's a wild, wild web listing that caught our eye. a woman offering her baby for adoption. i know this is crazy to do on craigslist, she wrote. i'm 20 weeks pregnant and looking for a couple to adopt my unborn child. nicole perkins responded to that ad. >> it would have been nothing short of a miracle for us. >> she and her husband had been looking to adopt for four years and knew someone else who found a baby on craigslist. so she thought she'd give it a try. >> thought well, if it can happen for one person, it might could happen for us. >> nicole said the woman replied saying her name ws beth. after a few days of chatting, beth texted nicole saying i feel like i've met my family. >> but when beth sent nicole these ultrasound pictures,
nicoles. >> the person who was pregnant generally their name is on the ultrasound somewhere. the photos were blurry. >> when nicole began to probe, she stopped responding. >> it causes a lot of heartache and a lot of confusion. >> turns out, we had also responded to the adoption post and were about to learn more about the woman offering a baby on craigslist. >> how are you feeling? >> tired. >> she agrees to meet with two of our producers posing as potential adoptive parents in charleston, south carolina. i watch from a few feet away while our hidden cameras recorded it all. >> i'm sorry. i'm nervous. >> why are you nervous? >> i don't know. >> she says her name is beth dennis. >> your name is beth dennis. >> she says this is her first pregnancy. that she's never been married. >> you've never been pregnant. you don't know what to expect? never been married? >> no. i was engaged but -- >> as for any criminal
background. >> you ever been in trouble with the law. >> here and there. >> beth says she wants nothing in return for giving up her baby. but she does ask for some cash. >> just a couple hundred dollars. >> she says it's to cover moving expenses. >> with food and gas, that would be great. >> there's something wrong with this negotiation to adopt a baby. because in south carolina, all adoptions must be handled by an attorney and approved by a court. but beth suggests a way around the law. by making this look like it isn't really an adoption. >> you wouldn't need an attorney or anything like that? >> no. >> she suggests our producers should claim on a birth certificate that he's the biological father. >> do i go in as your husband, is that what we do? >> you go in as the father of the baby. >> i go to the hospital and i take the baby home. >> for all they know, it could be a one nightstand. >> if we did that, it would be illegal. now it's time for me to ask beth a few questions.
>> how are you? >> she thinks i'm a family friend who happens to live in the area. >> what a day, man. i'm also a friend who is skeptical about the online listing we answered. >> who puts a baby up on craig list? >> there's a lot of people. >> yeah. >> we're here to talk more than just adoption because we know a lot more about beth than she thinks. for example, her name is not really beth dennis. she has been married. and in fact, she has at least three children. >> i've done some research, beth. and i know that your real name is beth guyton martinelli. >> no. >> that you've been married. >> no. >> that you did time in jail. >> no. >> that you already put up a child for adoption while you were in jail. >> no. >> despite the denials, we know the woman sitting across from us really is bethany guyton martinelli. a 37-year-old woman with a lengthy rap sheet ranging from writing bad checks to ripping people off at a car dealership. she's also wanted in two states
for probation violations and failure to show up in court. and while we were talking to her she was also under suspicion for operating a rental scam. just like the adoption listing, the rental scam began on craigslist. >> you're accused of running a rental home scam. >> no. >> took money from some five people. >> no. >> but that's not what this woman says. >> i was looking for a bigger place for me and my daughter. >> yvonne cusack was surfing the web when she saw beth's listing for this home. >> was it nice? >> yes, it was very nice. >> yvonne, a single mother was convinced and gave a woman named beth russell $1,000 for a downpayment. she never got to move in because she disappeared with the money. >> that was pretty much our entire savings. it may not be much to people but it was a lot to me and my daughter. >> there were at least four other people with similar complaints about beth.
over lunch, beth denied it all. >> i have to tell you, you're sounding like a pathological liar. >> no, that's not me. i think i'm going to leave. >> no, no, no. you need to clarify some of this stuff. >> beth took off quickly with a lot of unanswered questions. like whatever happened to those complaints about running that rental scam? >> we want to put her in handcuffs and we want to put her in front of a judge. >> those complaints landed on the desk of lieutenant tony finney of the south carolina sheriff's office. just two weeks ago he put beth's face on a digital billboard in hopes of finding her. the next day beth martinelli was arrested and charged with taking that rental money under false pretenses. >> beth guyton martinelli. >> she has yet to enter a plea. coming up -- looking online for a trusty mechanic? >> it looks like the fuel pump. >> this one makes house calls and quick getaways. >> you were willing to charge $750 for a 15 cent problem.
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the wild, wild web is full of people offering all kinds of services. how about car problems? like around the online classifieds in any city and you'll find plenty of listings for mechanics, even ones that make house calls, like this post in tucson, arizona, for a mobile mechanic promising to do any work your vehicle needs. jeremy may replied to the ad after his car had a serious engine problem. >> is this the kind of job you could have done yourself? >> absolutely not.
>> he says two days into the job and after paying him more than $1,000, the mechanic disappeared. >> he never finished the job. he left our car sitting on jacks. >> veronica says she had a problem with the same man. >> he's just a fraudulent mechanic. >> she says he charged her for a part he never replaced. >> wait a minute. he did not do the work? >> no. he's charging people for work that he's not even doing. >> so who is this mobile mechanic? we want to make an appointment with him. but first we need a car for him to work on. jerrick is an automotive technician who maintains a fleet of cars for a university in the tucson area. >> what condition is this car in? >> perfect. >> perfect until he created one minor problems. he deliberately put in a bad fuse for the car's fuel pump to see if the mobile mechanic would properly spot and repair it.
with labor, it might cost $50. with the price of the fuse being the least of it. >> what does a fuse cost to replace it? >> if did you it yourself, 15 cents, 20 cents. >> now it's time to make our appointment. >> hi. i just saw your auto repair ad on craigslist. >> a "dateline" staffer calls the mechanic and tells him about our car that won't start. inside this house, we invite our expert and that unhappy customer jeremy to watch what happens. here comes our mobile mechanic now. his name is frank step. >> hi frank. i'm julie. >> nice to meet you. >> nice to meet you. let's see what it's doing. >> all he needs to do is replace that 15-cent fuse. so frank gets to work. >> what's he doing now? >> he's pulling the spark plug out. >> then 15 minutes after he arrives, frank has a diagnosis. >> fuel pump is bad. >> fuel pump is bad? >> our mechanic says the fuel pump in his car is just fine. >> it is brand new.
it was replaced last month. >> it's time for me to ask frank a few questions. at first, he thinks i'm a friend of the owner. >> so what do we got going on here? >> got no fuel pressure. >> what do we got to do? >> needs a pump. >> this is a 2009. doesn't it seem a little new for a fuel pump? >> they go out whenever they go out. >> how much will it cost to replace a fuel pump that doesn't need to be relays placed? way more than a 15-cent fuse. >> what will the job cost? >> $80 to put it in. the pump is $350. >> what if i told you, frank, that i could fix this car. >> you guys know something -- >> by replacing that fuse. >> you pulled it out? >> we didn't pull it out. you didn't check it. >> i did check it. >> is this some kind of -- >> yeah, frank, i'm chris hansen with "dateline" nbc. we wanted to bring you out and see what would happen if you examined this vehicle. >> you got me a little flustered.
>> take your time. >> that's when frank realizes his mistake. >> we tell frank we still have one more person for him to meet. one of his unhappy customers, jeremy. >> i guess this is over with, right? >> well, there's one more thing. >> what is that? >> some of the people who have complained about your prior work are very upset. >> that's good. i hope they are. i'm upset with some of them. >> really? >> that's the guy right there. >> he claims that you never finished the job. >> i didn't finish the job because we had a problem. >> what was the problem? >> have a good day. >> you don't want to explain yourself? >> i don't have to explain myself to you. >> he said jeremy picked a fight by posting warnings about him all over the internet. >> you got angry with me. i don't need to come back. >> i'm not violent to you. >> you did? >> you owe me $1250. >> have a good day. >> at least seven other people complained about your work. >> frank told us he's had thousands of customers over the
years and has had only a handful of complaints. and he's not the only mechanic on the wild, wild web who may not be up to the job. we replied to another tucson listing for a mobile auto tech after seeing complaints about him online. would this mechanic figure out that the only problem is a bad fuse? his name is glenn clancy. he shows up with an assistant. >> thank you for coming out like last minute. >> not a problem. >> they get to work. within ten minutes he has his diagnosis. >> right now, about 99% positive it's the fuel pump. >> 99% positive it's the fuel pump. >> not even doing his basics. >> just to be sure, we asked one more time. >> could it be anything else though? >> no. >> i have to do something really quick. i'll be right back. >> now it's time for me to step in. >> hey guys. >> hey, how's it going? >> what does it look like is going on? >> it looks like to me it's the fuel pump. that's what's going on with it. >> how much would he charge us
to replace a perfectly good fuel pump? >> all in, you think what? >> a job like this, mobile cost about $250 in labor. so $750. >> $750 for a car that didn't need fixing. >> glenn, the reason why i'm asking all these questions is because i'm chris hansen with "dateline" nbc. >> okay. >> we're doing a story on people who post on craigslist. >> i thought you looked familiar. >> yeah? >> we try and do honest work. we really do. >> here's the deal. you were willing to charge $750 for something that was a 15-cent problem. >> no. that's if i was willing -- i was still going to do more diagnostic. >> this gentleman right here, jerrick, he's a mechanic. this is his car. >> okay. >> he just put a brand new fuel pump in it a month ago. >> okay. i'm done here. >> glenn's assistant comes to his partner's defense. the bottom line is, you were
willing to charge $750 for a 15-cent problem. >> he was not done checking. you guys sidelined him. that's the thing. >> it seemed like you were ready to put in a new fuel pump. >> i'm sorry, what? >> what's the lesson in all this? going online to find a mechanic may seem convenient, the old rules still apply. get a recommendation, know who you're dealing with before you make that call. coming up -- >> is this seat taken? >> yeah. >> a secret rendezvous at a casino. wait until you see what's in the cards. >> are you a hit man? >> i don't know what you're talking about. >> when "dateline" continues. all business purchases. so you can capture your receipts, and manage them online with jot, the latest app from ink. so you can spend less time doing paperwork. and more time doing paperwork.
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how are you doing, man? >> nice to meet you, man. >> last year you might remember we met this man. glenn glass burn who advertised on craigslist suggest he was a hit man. saying he could eliminate someone for a fee. >> he could disappear or get hurt, hospitalized. a lot of things could happen. >> we thought the idea of finding a hit man online is one in a million. but take a look at this craigslist posting from someone in arizona calling himself the
problem eliminator. he describes himself as professional, very expensive and very discreet. promising any problem will be eliminated. sounds a little scary. we can't broadcast telephone recordings. but when we called, this is what his voice mail sounded like. >> the dogs are howling all over the neighborhood. wait for the beep and leave a detailed message. >> soon, a man calling himself j.g. gets back to our producer. she tells him she's having a problem with a nasty co-worker. he gets right down to business and tells her how much it's going to cost. >> 21, including expenses. send me six and i'll be there to get the rest and the details. >> $21,000 with $6,000 up front. we tell him we're nervous. j.g. says -- >> you don't have to worry. floss tricky stuff and i expect the same from you.
>> we agreed to meet him in tucson, arizona. he tells us to go at midnight to this local casino. he's very specific with his instructions. he wants us to sit here at this $5 wheel of fortune slot machine and save him a seat. will the problem eliminator show up? >> frankly, we're a little nervous about all this. about who this man might be and how serious he is about committing a violent crime. two hours before the meeting, our hidden camera crew and security get into position. then right on cue, at midnight, here comes the man who calls himself j.g. >> nice to meet you. >> his first order of business, making sure our producer isn't with law enforcement. >> what do you do? >> take a guess? >> fbi? >> she says she's not with the fbi. >> no. >> he never asks if she's a reporter. but he's still being careful. >> so can we talk?
>> sure. not here. unless you whisper in my ear. >> whisper in your ear? >> yeah. >> why? >> in case there's any recording devices. >> he touches her back to see if she's wearing a wire. >> you can talk in my ear. it won't hurt anything. >> so how long have you been doing this? >> finally, he seems ready to receive the details on who he's supposed to take care of. >> i'm ready to go. >> it's a huge risk for me, though. >> what about me? >> i need to know you can get rid of this guy for me? >> i already assured you, promised you this situation would be handled. >> our producer pre tends she gets a phone call and walks a away. >> can you excuse me for a second. >> is this seat taken? >> she's on the phone. >> she is? i just want to sit down for a minute. i barely get a question out when the man who calls himself j.g.
decides it might be time to go. >> hey j.g. -- j.g., you want to talk to me for a minute, i promise you. because in the best case scenario you're trying to take advantage of a young woman. the worst case scenario you advertise your services as a hit man. something else you got to know. i'm chris hansen with "dateline" nbc. are you a hit man? >> i don't know what you're talking about. >> don't you want to explain yourself? >> i have to leave. i have to leave? >> i'm going to get security. >> i don't think i have to worry about security here. you're the one who offered to take care of this problem for this young woman. >> you want me to believe this is one big misunderstanding? what it sounds like is that you're offering your services as a hit man or some sort of a thug enforcer. >> no. it's all a misunderstanding. >> so who is this man who calls himself a problem eliminator? the car he was driving had an unregistered license plate so we
couldn't track him that way. so for the time being he makes his way into the darkness. if you recognize him, get in touch with us. we have a feeling there may be more to his story. >> coming up -- >> are you a vampire? >> yes, i am a vampire. >> how is this for true blood? one, two, three vampires. >> it's so erotic, you know. >> they all say they're thirsty. with greek nonfat yogurt, loaded with protein 0% fat that thick creamy texture, i was in trouble. look i'm in a committed relationship with activia and i've been happy and so has my digestive system. now i'm even happier since activia greek showed up because now i get to have my first love and my greek passion together, what i call a healthy marriage. activia greek. the feel good greek. ♪ dannon
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vampire. >> vampires have become a national obsession with films like the twilight saga, shows like true blood. but we were sure it was all in the spirit of make believe that these blood thirsty creatures
have become the rage. until we saw these posts. people seeking human blood, calling themselves real life vampires. in fact, there's a whole online vampire community that hangs out on websites like this one. crimson connections. that's where we find this ad from a 25-year-old male looking for someone to donate blood so he can drink it. we e-mail hip am and set up a meeting in new york city. >> i'm chris hansen is "dateline" nbc. >> when i tell him who i am, he gets nervous. later, he agrees to sit down with me wearing a disguise. >> are you a vampire? >> yes, i am a vampire. >> when was the first time you consumed human blood? >> i was in high school. >> do you need human blood to survive? >> to survive, no. but to stay healthy, yes. >> he says it's been a while
since he's tasted human blood. for now, he's got a decent substitute. >> i have to survive on eating a -- like a raw steak. undercooked steak. >> he wants people to know his interest in blood is genuine and has nothing to do with pop culture. >> but you came up with the whole vampire thing on your own without any influence from television, movies or the internet? >> yes. people should never consider the movies a way to tell what a real vampire is like. >> it might sound bizarre but he's not the only person claiming to be a vampire we found on the wild, wild web. this craigslist post gets right to the point. vampire seeks human donor. we respond and a man named mikey males back. i am not seeking someone to hang out with. i will at times want to simply drain you and go. he agreed to meet our undercover staffer at this restaurant in upstate new york while hidden cameras record it all. but before they even begin
talking, he asks for some wine. red, of course. >> glass of merlot, please. >> our staffer asks him how he actually plans on taking her blood. >> would you like bite me? >> i wouldn't bite you. >> he tells us that he's used a syringe before. that wasn't half as satisfying as when his then girlfriend bit her lip. >> it was so erotic. >> obviously, that's not going to happen with our staffer. she excuses herself and that's when i step in. >> hey, how is it going? >> good. how are you sir? >> i'm curious about this vampire phenomenon. >> okay. >> i just want to know -- >> almost immediately he realizes who i am. >> are you a reporter? >> i am. >> how did you get into it? how does somebody wake up one day and say, okay, i'm a vampire? >> you kind of awaken one day. >> as crazy as it seems, he
appears to be quite serious about being a vampire. >> do you have vampire's fangs? >> no, i don't. there's no -- >> some people do in the community. they'll get things put in by dentists. >> are you sensitive to the light? >> no. nothing like that. >> he says drinking human blood rejuvenates him. >> you feel like you don't have enough get up and go. >> energy. >> like someone might have a cup of coffee in the morning. i took on someone's energy or tasted someone's blood, that would kind of like revitalize me. >> you could see where somebody unfamiliar with vampire culture would find this odd. >> yes, of course. but it's not entirely unusual. >> he's right about that. we found many more people claiming to be real-life vampires on the wild, wild web.
here's an online post written by a woman looking for a donor in atlanta, georgia. she says her favorite color, not surprisingly, is red and to anyone who wants to reply but may be nervous, she'll throw in dinner if it will help relax the nerves. we pose as someone who might be interested in quenching her thirst and set up a meeting in atlanta where she's a college student. >> how many times have you actually consumed somebody's blood? >> it's such a big number. but more than ten. >> what happens if you don't get a donor? >> then you just find other ways. you could supplement using animals which i personally don't like to. >> like killing a dog or a cat. >> rabbits work best. >> rabbits. what about with humans, will you drink directly from the human body? >> it depends on the donor. you get a rush and -- how many vampires are there? >> there's a lot of us out there. >> around the world? >> uh-huh. >> those are bona fide
blood-drinking vampires. >> yes. some nice, some not. >> what do you mean not nice? >> hollywood does paint a bad picture. >> are there people forcing themselves on others to take their blood? >> yes. >> she says she's a nice one. she's not bashful knowing that her secret will be shared with millions. >> this is all being recorded with cameras. >> i know. i've had an interview with a vampire? >> you have. >> i can say that? >> you can say that. >> it might be hard to top that one. who knows what we'll find next. more adventures later this summer on the wild, wild web. now for the second hour of "dateline." i want to know what his last thoughts were. what could you think? what could go through your head when you're falling to your death? >> it began so happily. >> we were young, passionate. it was nice. >> and ended so tragically.
>> that's when i heard a woman screaming no, no, no! >> he was just 23 when he fell 17 stories to his death, leaving behind a pregnant wife. >> you actually watched him hit the ground? >> and questions -- >> i still can't understand how it happened. >> at first, no one else could understand how it happened either. until someone started talking and just wouldn't stop. >> we got both struggling. >> what do you mean? >> was this an accident or something else? >> going to turn into a nightmare. >> here is andrea canning with shattered. it was a spring day in name only. the temperature in tulsa was a couple of humid ticks shy of triple digits. and that was just fine with josh and amber hibber ling. they were back where they had
met and fell in love. >> i believe everyone has that one person in their life that they give their whole heart to. there's no refunds or exchanges. >> the young couple newlyweds who had recently celebrated their first anniversary had just survived a frigid winter in alaska. where josh had done a stint in the air force. amber spent most of those cold dark winter days alone in military housing. >> it's really, really cold and dark and -- >> did you like it there or did you quickly start feeling that maybe this isn't the place for me? >> it is hard to get used to. i would make grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup and sit on the floor, you know, in the afternoons, and talk to levi. >> levi was the name they had picked for the son they were expecting. amber was seven months pregnant. now back home in tulsa, they were living in the city's iconic residential highrise. the university club tower that
looms more than 30 floors above the banks of the arkansas river. the view from nair 25th floor apartment was one of the best in town. until around 4:00 p.m. that hot tuesday afternoon in 2011. >> that's when i heard a woman screaming, no, no, no! >> nathan mcgowan was in the apartment next door. after the screams, he heard a loud crash. >> i thought maybe somebody pushed over a coffee table or a fish tank because it got completely quiet right at that instant. eerily quiet. then i heard someone screaming oh, my god, oh, my god! >> this was no fish tank shattering. it was something for more terrible. something tragic. josh had crashed through the big picture window in the living room. >> i remember him tripping backwards and falling into the window. i run to the window and i saw
him hit the ground and i mean, i just -- >> you actually watched him hit the ground? >> yeah. >> i don't think anyone really imagines what that must be like. >> no. nobody -- nobody could ever imagine. my only thought was get to him. you know, see if he's okay. >> josh had landed 17 floors below on the concrete of the 8th floor parking deck. amber raced downstairs. a neighbor who heard the breaking glass snapped this picture as she reached josh. >> when you came upon his body, did you touch him? did you move him? >> yeah. i rolled him over. >> must have been hard? >> a human being should never have to see another human being in that state.
even a stranger, much less -- much less someone you love. >> amber cradled josh's head in her arms pleading with him to wake up until emts pulled her away. but there was nothing they could do. he was gone. josh hilberling was just 23 years old. officer don holloway of the tulsa police department arrived a few minutes later. >> can you first describe the scene. >> the scene was chaotic. there were medical personnel, fire department personnel, police personnel. a crowd had gathered outside and saw the victim on the ground. >> two people said they witnessed josh's horrifying fall. they spoke to detective jeff felton. >> one of them described him kind of flailing, almost like riding a bicycle or pedaling. >> screaming? >> yes. >> officer holloway took amber inside, away from the horrible scene on the parking deck.
>> and what was amber's demeanor at that time? >> she was upset. she was crying. asking for josh. wanted to know if they were working on him, trying to get him back to life or not. >> she seemed very distraught. >> what are you thinking happened at this point? >> at that point i thought we had a suicide, maybe an accidental fall, something along those lines. >> holloway was also thinking the gruesome scene was no place for a pregnant 19-year-old girl who had just become a widow. he drove amber to the police station and escorted her to an interview room. >> thank you, ma'am. >> her grandmother gloria came along for support. >> amber is nothing but a witness to this. i just put them in the room so amber could have somebody there with her to console her if she needed it. >> josh is dead. >> as the two women sat alone in the small room, amber poured her heart out.
>> i just wish it would leave my head. every time i close my eyes i see it. >> she was inconsolable. a jumble of grief and raw emotion. >> i just want to know what his last thoughts were. what could you think, what could go through your head when you're falling to your death? >> i still can't understand how it happened. and i don't think that's ever going to get better. >> for almost an hour, amber sat with hr grandmother in a small room at the police station. unable to stop replaying every moment of the events that ended her husband's life. >> i just kissed his cheeks and screamed for him to wake up. going to turn into a nightmare. what did amber know that detectives didn't? was this an accident or
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it had been only an hour since josh hilberling died in a horrifying fall from a 25th floor apartment. his wife amber was now at a downtown police station with her grandmother gloria. filled with questions that had no good answers. >> how did this happen? why did he have to fall out the window? i didn't just lose my husband. jeannie and patrick lost their son. zack lost his brother. >> airman first class zak hill ber ling, josh's younger brother was serving a tour in afghanistan. he got the news when he logged on to facebook. >> i called my dad and it was late, 11:00 or 12:00. the fact that he answered the phone blew my mind.
i think the first thing that i said to my dad, tell me that it's not true. but he said it is. >> zack headed home as the hilberling clan gathered in tulsa to mourn and remember. >> joshua was my first-born son. he was everything. >> josh's father patrick and stepmother jeannie. >> he had a smile. i mean, he could light up a room. >> i called him joshie. i don't think anybody else is allowed to call him that. >> is he a mama's boy? >> he's been accused of that. he'd help me cook and things like that. he had a tender side. >> that tender mama's boy grew into a strapping 6'4", 220-pound teenager. a star on his high school football team. for an oklahoma kid, that was a very big deal. >> josh, football was the most
exciting friday nights. >> he was a phenomenal football player. that was his sport and his game. that's his first love. >> it was back in 2008 when josh met amber at a halloween party. once they started dating, he literally swept her off her feet. >> what are some of the things he did for you? >> one night he drove me out to a basketball court at a park in his parents' neighborhood and i didn't know how to dance. so he put me up on his -- the tops of his shoes and danced with me under the stars. >> things were perfect at first. aren't they always. >> we were young, passionate. it was nice. >> josh and amber had been dating for just a few months when he got his marching orders. he was assigned to an air force base in alaska. the young couple faced a crossroads. they wanted to be together so
they arranged a quick courthouse wedding. followed later by a lavish country club reception. >> it was so dorky. i almost passed out i was so nervous. we were both kind of giggling at ourselves more or less. >> you sound like two teenagers. >> i mean, yeah, we were. >> but now amber was at a tulsa police station, no longer a giggling teenage bride. she was a widow and filled with anguish as she poured her heart out. >> just come back, please. please. i love you. i love you so much. >> but through the fog of her grief, a story started to emerge. amber told her grandmother she and her husband had been arguing and now she couldn't believe how it ended. >> no he's not supposed to be.
but he's in god's hands. >> not fair. >> throughout their gut-wrenching conversation, amber and her grandmother were alone in a police interrogation room talking in confidence, or so they thought. it turns out officer don holloway had been listening the entire time. >> i was in the other room typing up my report and all of a sudden amber started talking about what had happened. >> so holloway started recording the conversation. every word, every gesture was being captured when amber said something that would change everything. >> he was like messing with the tv right here. and the window is right here. and i pushed him and he fell into the window, fell. oh, god. >> and when through her tears amber said she had pushed josh, her grandmother seemed to sense the gravity of what the words might mean to police. >> quit saying you pushed him
out the window. did you intentionally push -- >> no. of course not. >> okay. that's what they're going to take it as, baby. >> was amber's grandmother right? would homicide detectives think the overwrought teenager was talking about an accident or was she describing something much darker? >> who could do that? push my husband and make him fall out the window. >> coming up -- warning signs of a marriage in trouble. >> we just slowly started seeing how different we really were. >> and of a life in danger. >> he was in tears, and he didn't know what to do. >> when "dateline" continues. . chickadee, my chickadee? hmmmm aqua ocean? no. that's it! yes! let's go to lowe's. valspar signature hi-def has amazing quality.
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amber hilberling and her grandmother were in a police station in downtown tulsa and during their intense hour-long conversation, one thing amber said stood out. >> and the window is right here and i pushed him and he went out the window and fell. god. >> to police eavesdropping on
them, that sounded like a critical statement. but what did it really mean? lead detective jeff felton. >> i didn't know the motive behind the push, i didn't know if there was a domestic situation going on. i didn't know if they were playing around and she pushed him. >> sort of giving the benefit of the doubt in a way. >> absolutely. i mean, it's just -- nothing that i've ever seen before. >> felton had to figure out how the push happened and also what, if anything, led to it. and that meant taking a closer look at amber and her marriage. >> it was a volatile relationship without a doubt. >> how did things get that way? that all depends on whom you ask. >> from the day the couple moved to alaska, amber's mother could see the storm clouds gathering. >> amber was used to getting her hair done, her nails done and all of a sudden you put this girl in a different world and it's cold and she found out she was pregnant. it was like a tornado going. too many things happening at once.
>> their alaskan adventure derailed almost from the start. >> when did your life start not seeming quite so perfect anymore? >> being newlyweds alone is a struggle. and then the alaska factor, getting used to a whole new place and -- i mean, we just slowly started seeing how different we were really were. >> how were you different? >> in every way. he was the modest predictable type and i was more the wild hair. >> josh's father thought it was a terrible match the first time he saw the young couple together. >> it just didn't make any sense to me. i felt like my son was making a mistake. >> amber's mom had to agree. josh and amber were naive, starry-eyed lovers. >> they were too young and in love.
they wanted this fairytale marriage that didn't exist because that's not real life. >> as the winter days grew colder and darker, the strain was too much. there were lots of arguments and troubling late-night calls to mom and dad from both of them. >> he was in tears. and he didn't know what to do. >> after josh was discharged from the air force, they came back home. tulsa might have meant a fresh start. but the fighting continued. it turned out alaska wasn't the problem, their marriage was. >> on june 7th, 2011, just a couple of weeks after they had moved into the university club high-rise, josh's bags were packed and he was waiting for a ride. that's when he fell to his death. and now detectives started focusing their attention on that 25th floor apartment. >> i made sure that the upstairs was secure and went and applied for a search warrant so that we could go inside. >> once he entered josh and
amber's apartment, felton looked for evidence that maybe there had been a fight that had gone terribly wrong. but he couldn't find anything to suggest the couple had been in the throes of a violent struggle just before the fatal push. >> the furniture was all in place, the -- other than the broken window, there was nothing that would indicate that any kind of struggle had taken place. >> when you think about a pregnant woman, 5'5" pushing her husband who is 6'4" out a window like that, is it surprising that she would be able to do that? >> no, ma'am. if you catch somebody off guard and i mean, a big body can actually work against you. >> do you think he was caught off guard and pushed? >> yes, ma'am. i think he was messing with the television set. >> so you think she did it on purpose? >> i think she shoved him on purpose, absolutely. >> and the more felton heard of what amber said in that interrogation room, the more convinced he became that she had condemned herself. >> i wonder if his parents know
yet? they kept saying if we stay together i'm going to kill him. >> with amber saying things that sounded an awful lot like a confession, grandma gloria offered up some sobering advice. >> when they come in, just say i don't want to say nothing until my attorney gets here, okay? don't -- and don't slip any other way. >> it turns out, an attorney was exactly what amber needed. police and prosecutors decided her push was, in fact, a crime. she was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. amber's mother was shocked. she thought it was obvious her daughter had been traumatized in the hours after josh's death. she also thought it was outrageous that anyone would hold anything she said to her grandmother in the interrogation room against her. >> she was a broken girl that had just witnessed the most horrible thing. she was in complete shock.
as we all were. making someone pay for a tragic accident doesn't correct the situation. >> but the question of whether amber should pay was out of her mother's hands. it would now be decided in a tulsa courtroom. >> coming up -- >> no witnesses saw what happened in that apartment but one witness did hear it. and it sure didn't sound like an accident. >> i heard running, like i've never heard before in that building and a crash: can become major victories. i'm phil mickelson, pro golfer. when i was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, my rheumatologist prescribed enbrel for my pain and stiffness, and to help stop joint damage. [ male announcer ] enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders, and allergic reactions have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis
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amber hilberling had been charged with second-degree murder for the death of her husband josh. as the story of how he fell 17 stories to his death went public, it seemed the only ones crying for amber were her family and amber herself. >> why did he fall? josh is dead. >> amber continued to insist her
husband's death was an accident. but an online cottage industry sprung up online was bashing her who had given birth to her son levi. >> as the mother reading about her, hearing those things about her. >> it's like taking a knife and just stabbing her. >> her critics noted that the stepdaughter of a plastic surgeon always seemed ready for her closeup. tight clothes that emphasized her breast implants and blown out hair for court hearings. >> people wrote harsh things about you, saying that you were enjoying it, that you loved being a celebrity. one quote was that you were paying more attention to your outfits than the evidence. >> i mean, that seems ridiculous. a totally unsupported opinion because these people didn't live with me on a daily basis. >> the theory of the state was that while amber may not have meant to kill her husband, pushing him toward the window showed a dangerous disregard for
his life. in other words, second-degree murder. if convicted, amber faced anywhere from ten years to life in prison. >> think of the absolute conscious disregard for another human life when you are pushing somebody towards glass 25 stories up. when you wouldn't even do it on the first floor. >> prosecutor michelle keeley knew jurors might have a hard time seeing the young mother as a killer. as amber waited in an oklahoma jail cell separated from her newborn son, she was offered a deal. five years of prison in exchange for a guilty plea. >> i think any time you go to trial where you have a lovely young lady and somebody who doesn't have any felony convictions, definitely could have come across very well for a jury. >> amber's lawyers told her she should consider the deal. amber wasn't interested. >> why didn't you take the five? >> because i believed that if you're not guilty for something and you truly believe in that with all your heart, then you're going to take whatever risk is
necessary to prove that. >> she put her faith and her future in the hands of a jury. her trial started this past march. and right away, the prosecutor argued this was a domestic violence case with a twist. the wife, they said, had abused the husband. finally, pushing him to his death. >> that incident was eerily foreshadowed months earlier by a phone call patrick hilberling received from his son josh. >> she pushed him down the stairs. i could hear her at the top of the stairs screaming who are you talking to? he goes dad, i don't know what to do. and i told him to leave. i said you need to just leave. get out of there. >> to support the abuse claim, the prosecutor had an explosive piece of evidence. it was a protective order detective felton found in the couple's apartment taken out by josh against his wife just weeks before his death. and after she had cracked him
over the head with a lamp. josh had told police he needed 11 stitches to close the wound. >> the order listed josh as being the plaintiff and amber being the defendant. which means that he got the protective order against her. >> the state believed that was court ordered proof that amber was a violent woman, likely out of control the day her husband died. in fact, just before that fatal push, josh had phoned his dad patrick and pleaded with him to come pick him up. >> he said dad, you know, i can't take it anymore. can you come get me? give me a ride home. >> as josh waited for that ride, the prosecutor told the court his wife went on a tear. the two fought first in the bedroom where one of them threw a laundry basket and broke the window. >> she obviously knew that those windows would break. so she was on notice of that. >> a building repairman came to
the couple's apartment to fix the bedroom window. while he worked, the husband and wife started arguing again. this time in the living room. prosecutor said at some point josh became distracted, either by his phone or by the tv. and that, she said, is when amber took her husband by surprise shoving him into a window she knew could easily break. >> i heard a woman screaming no, no, no! >> neighbor nathan mcgowan had been listening to the couple argue. what he heard just moments before the fatal crash became vital to the state's case. >> then i heard running like i've never heard in that building. i heard running coming from the left going to the right and a crash. >> to the state, those footsteps revealed a key point that amber had charged toward her husband who was standing near that window totally unaware. and that wasn't the only
evidence given to support that theory. >> the witness that saw him coming down was standing about where we were looking up. >> remember, there were two eyewitnesses who testified they saw josh come out of that window. one offered a chilling detailed description recounted by officer don holloway. >> so the witness says he saw him coming out face first? >> that's correct. the witness said he was falling face first when he saw him. >> which became a critical piece of eyewitness testimony. >> it showed that josh was probably facing forward when he came out the window instead of turned around facing amber. >> suggesting he may have been pushed from behind. something else caught the prosecutor's eye. the furnishings near the shattered window had not been touched. >> what did that say to you, that the apartment appeared to be untouched, it was pristine? >> it told me that there wasn't a struggle at the scene. if there had been any strug the in the apartment, the candle will sticks would have been
toppled over, the pictures if somebody banged into the wall, it's likely that the pictures would have been askew. >> further proof, she said, that amber had taken her husband by surprise. the prosecutor believed amber herself admitted as much in that heart to heart with her grandmother. over the objections of the defense, the judge ruled the jury could see and hear the entire taped conversation. he said the two women were not entitled to privacy in a police interrogation room. >> he was like messing with the tv right here. and the window is right here and i pushed him and he fell. oh, god. >> to the prosecutor, comments like that were a confession to murder. and she played more clips of that conversation for the jury, including this seemingly damming one. >> i killed him. >> in the moments right after a horrible accident or something
horrible happened, during the excitement of an event, people are more likely to say true things. i think yes, that definitely goes to the fact that what she probably said after the event is probably very true. >> finally, the prosecution introduced two of the defendants former cell mates who testified that amber had called her late husband a bastard and made light of his death. >> both said that she would joke about this and look at them and say, you better be careful or i'll push you out the window. she would laugh after that. i think that shows a lack of remorse, a lack of real acceptance for the gravity of what she had done. >> did it all add up to second-degree murder? the defense was about to present a much different version of the last moments of josh hilberling's life. coming up -- >> a defense no one saw coming. >> did you ever fear for your life in the relationship? >> i mean, i definitely was scared sometimes.
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amber hilberling had been called a lot of things in tulsa, spoiled, vain and by the state of oklahoma, murderer. but her attorneys, jason corns
and april cyber thought it was time to tell the truth about amber as they saw it. >> she was a victim before this accident. she's been a victim of the circus at tha this case has become. she's been through hell. >> her lawyer said her hell began the moment josh went through the window because she had no intention of causing his death. after all, the state's own witnesses describe amber at distraught and inconsolable. >> every first responder on the scene, they all testified unanimously, that amber appeared shocked, surprised, said she couldn't believe it happened. she never meant for it to happen. it was an accident. >> some people find it hard to believe, a woman 5'5", seven months pregnant could push josh who is 6'4", right nowth out the window. wouldn't he be able to stop that? >> well, there was a push and a trip. he lost his balance falling backwards. what happened next is a blur.
>> the defense argued that the state couldn't prove otherwise. they said just because josh's body was found face down, that didn't mean he had gone out the window the same way, as if pushed from behind. the problem, they said, was the prosecutor's application of the law. the law of physics. >> the medical examiner testified that based on his observations of the injury, there's no way he could tell with any degree of scientific reliability which way he came out of the window. >> do you think it's possible to change positions many times as you're falling from 25th floor? >> absolutely. >> it was also possible the defense argued, that the witnesses who saw josh falling face forward were imagining things, especially the witness who was taking a smoke break on the street 25 stories below. >> the idea that this man, while out smoking a cigarette could have been zeroed in on that one of 400-some windows and can testify two years later about this man's body position as he
went through that window, that's preposterous. >> equally absurd to the defense, that testimony from amber's former cell mates who described amber talking callously about her husband's death. >> one of the jailhouse snitches testified that amber said in jail, i killed the bastard. any truth to that? >> no. in fact, amber's reaction was priceless when that testimony came out. she looked at me and she said bastard. what am i 40? that's an old person's word. >> he said putting them on the stand was a desperate ploy and he predicted it would backfire. >> i had more respect for the jury that we seated to think they could believe the two jailhouse informan. i think they were just a joke. >> the real culprit here said the defense wasn't amber at all, but the cheap windows she accidentally push josh against. the lawyer said the glass may have met city codes but that
didn't mean it belonged in a high-rise. >> i want the jury to realize that that glass is not safe. >> they called to the stand an expert who has been testing and installing glass in buildings for 30 years. he told the court that the glass in the university club towers' windows should have been replaced years ago. >> it's for picture frames, not for windows. i've never used that on any of my projects. >> and the only thing filmsier than that glass was the prosecution's claim that amber was an abusive wife. amber's mother found that argument particularly galling. >> i disagree that amber was the abuser. did she fight back sometimes? oh, yeah. was she perfect? i don't know that. no one was up there with them. >> the only two who knew what happened were amber and josh. >> josh didn't have to defend himself. i mean, i was a good wife. >> in that same soft voice, amber hilberling took the stand
to defend herself. she recounted a marriage that began passionately but soon became troubled. she blamed that trouble on josh, who she said was abusive. >> did you ever fear for your life in the relationship? >> i mean, i definitely was scared sometimes. >> on the last day of josh's life, amber said she decided finally to stand up for herself. she told the court she made josh pack his bags. that's what started the fight and that's when amber said months of abuse at the hand of her husband led to one final confrontation which he started. >> out of frustration, he reaches out and grabs my shoulders. >> the defense produced this photo to show that josh's grip had left red marks on amber's shoulders. fearing for herself and her unborn baby, amber said she reacted with a mother's
protective instinct. >> i reached up and pushed against his chest. i remember him falling backwards and i mean, i didn't even hear anything. >> but that claim of self-defense was at odds with her next door neighbor's testimony. >> he said he heard amber yelling and the stomping of feet as if someone had been rushing toward josh just before that crash. >> so there are two very different stories. >> i can't give account to the other guy or whoever testified saying that. but the running, there was no running. >> was there stomping toward the window at any point? >> i mean, there was ojosh tripping backwards that maybe could have been heard like that. >> but if it did happen that way, why didn't amber mention it moments after josh died? why was she suddenly claiming self-defense? >> was that a story you made up to try and get off?
>> no. no, not at all. why i didn't mention it in the interrogation room, i don't know. i remember very, very little of anything in that tape. >> she even addressed that protection order the state tried to use against her. she said the idea for filing that was a ruse she and josh worked up together. >> why did he take a protection order out against you? >> that was for josh's parents, of him trying to convince them that he was going to divorce me so they wouldn't take his trust fund from him. >> did you intentionally push josh out that window? >> no. i would never do something like that to someone. ever. i mean, i've never even been in a fight ever in my life. >> as she testified from the witness stand, amber's words were being measured and weighed very carefully. had she made the case for
freedom or talked her way into prison? >> coming up -- the verdict. >> i had waited almost two years to get to my day in court when i could actually stand up and say, this is what happened. >> josh is dead. and there has to be consequences. there has to be punishment. >> coming up wednesday on "dateline," a beautiful wife and mom threatened, she says, in her own home. >> i thought i'm going to die if i leave. i realized i'm going to die if i stay. >> to protect herself, she bought a gun. >> are you prepared to kill him? >> she said yes, if i have to. >> then, a brutal attack in her bedroom. an attack she taped. >> no, no! >> but was this a womanover come by fear. >> one of the role playing scenarios was a fake rape.
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. it had been nearly two years and now the mystery and controversy surrounding josh hilberling's death were coming to a head. his wife amber had just told a courtroom she had pushed josh in self-defense. >> initially, she never ever said it was self-defense. in fact, i never heard that it was self-defense until she actually took the witness stand. >> that also caught officer holloway by surprise. he says amber never mentioned self-defense as she waited in that interrogation room moments after josh's death. >> so did it strike you at the time as unusual that that wasn't brought up? >> yes, it did. if it had truly happened, there's no doubt in my mind it would have been brought up when i was listening to amber. >> the prosecutor pointed out that amber seemed dumbfounded when her own grandmother appeared to suggest that amber might have been trying to protect herself.
>> were you both struggling? >> what do you mean? >> so now before the case was handed to the jury, the state had its chance to cross-examine amber. >> she testified that when it happened, he grabbed her on the shoulders and she pushed him backwards. >> the prosecutor asked amber to reenact there in the courtroom the supposed confrontation with her husband. detective felton played the part of josh with his arms reaching out, hands gripping amber's shoulders as she described. amber didn't actually move towards him, but still pushed him away. the detective didn't buy it. >> she described a gentle push. and you know, i think anybody would realize that it would take great force to get josh to actually go through the window. >> we're talking about a woman who is 5'5", a man 6'4". some thing a gentle push isn't realistic. >> yes, ma'am. in my mind, if he didn't want to
go out the window and he wanted to fight back, there was no way that would happen. >> to the detective that meant josh was distracted and that amber surprised him with that push. but would it seem that way to the jurors? after a week of testimony, they knew only one thing for certain. josh had gone out that window to his death. amber called it an accident borne out of self-defense. the state charged it was a reckless shove by an angry abusive wife, second-degree murder. >> when you were waiting for the verdict, how did you think it was going to play out? >> i mean, honestly, i had all the hope in the world. i had waited almost two years to get to that point, to get to my day in court when i could stand up and say this is what happened, this is what i've been through and hope that people see that. >> which is what the hilberlings feared. they worried the jury had seen this case as amber had and would
forget about their son. >> josh is dead. a person died, and there has to be consequences. there has to be punishment. >> and there was. after less than three hours, the jury had its verdict. guilty of murder in the second-degree. >> i just grabbed on to levi. and i was like, this can't be happening, this can't be real. it was just awful. >> the bad news for amber wasn't over. the jury stunned nearly everyone by recommending a 25-year prison term. >> i have to assume that even the district attorney was -- has to be, i mean, in some state of surprise as to 25 years because they offered me five. >> would you do it differently knowing what you know now? would you take the plea? >> no. because what i know to be true
is no different today than it was when they offered me that five years. you know, i have to put my trust in one day i'll be able to say the things left unsaid and hope for something better. >> but to the woman who prosecuted amber and won, the sentence seemed a perfect kind of justice. >> when you think of that it was from the 25th floor and it got 25 years, it's not the maximum, it's not the minimum. it's something that actually makes sense. it's like a year for every floor. >> years that will keep amber away from her son. she'll probably only see him now ironically, through an unbreakable window in a prison visitor's area. >> she's watching her child grow up in pictures. i'm watching my child grow behind glass.
it is not fair at all. >> but then the hilberlings will tell what happened to their son and brother is not fair either. >> we would never let anybody come between us. i miss him for that. i don't have it anymore. there's no replacing him. >> so zack hilberling tries to keep the ache at bay with an image of his brother smiling, feet planted firmly on the ground, victorious in life under friday night lights. >> i think of him every time i see a football. i mean, it's -- i hear the word football, i think of -- there's so many things that remind me of my brother because he was in my life from day one and he never left. so he's still not gone. that's the best part. that's all for this edition of "dateline."